Gifts Abound
Off The Wall, December 16, 2011

Now that we are past Black Friday, part one of the mad dash for Christmas gifts is over. For many, that’s not only a relief, but people will for waiting for the big sales Dec. 26, where they will get those wanted commodities at a greater discount, possibly.

Isn’t it interesting how materialistically our society has become. I recall, upon growing up, the saying, “Keeping up with the Jones.” If Harry Bedt got a new Maverick, than Jack Girt also had to have one, too. If Theresa Turnbuckal grew her hair long, than Mary Smiley did the same. And if Lynn Lesuch had seven children, then Grace Garsinik felt that she had to do the same. And so, one could say, these were the birth of patterns of living within our society.

But, there is so much more to life than “things.” Now that we are celebrating Advent and anticipating the arrival of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, it is my opinion that, yes, it is nice to buy presents for loved ones. But more important, we must recognize all God’s gifts, which have been and will be given to us as we draw closer to Him.

As I see it, I have no problem staying in my bedroom, never coming upon frantic individuals racing for a product to save a few bucks or feel threatened by those who may actually push or shove me as I walk casually through a store.

Instead, I can have a nice talk with my Creator who has not only already given me the gift of life, but so much more.

Recently, I came upon a saying that blessed the socks off of me. “Your life is a gift from God. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” Wow, if that isn’t powerful. Since we are in the gift giving and receiving season, those are the words that should be in the forefront of anything we do. Taken from The Word among us, Advent 2011, “Give Jesus the gift He is longing for: Try to embrace Him a little more every day.”

Actually, the commentary begins, “Brothers and sisters, we should all embrace Jesus because of the way He embraced us – with perfect humility, with complete forgiveness, and with boundless love.”

There are so many other gifts He has given us, we take for granted, some of them we may not ever think of them as such.

Prayer is a gift from God. I think the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines it best by saying, “The wonder of prayer I revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; His asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for Him (CCC 2560).

Chastity is a gift from God. It is a moral virtue, a grace of spiritual effort. “The Holy spirit enables one whom the water of baptism has regenerated to imitate the purity of Christ (CCC 2345).”

We all are not blessed with the same IQ level, but, nevertheless, intelligence is a gift from God. We should all be thankful for the gift God has given us, irrespective of how high or low it may be. Praise God for this wonderful present.

How many times have we asked the Lord for forgiveness? To be able to speak our thoughts to God, telling Him of our shortcomings and how we plan to work toward avoiding our failures is such a wonderful gift. On top of that, to know that God Almighty, through the Holy Spirit, will guide us in the right direction, will help us overcome our problematic areas, is surely a double treat – two gifts wrapped into one package!

But how can anyone not marvel and rejoice, among many, many other givings, than having available to us on a regular basis, the Sacrament of the Eucharist. We, the creation of the One who made the world and everything in it, allows us to not only hold Him in our hands, but to consume His body and blood is truly a most awesome gift.

But how could I conclude without mentioning the one true gift that God allowed – his Son’s crucifixion on the cross for our redemption of our sins. There is no way we can repay God for such a wonderful gift. May this be an eye opener to all mankind that we do have a savior who loves us. The least we can do is to uphold faithfulness in His Word.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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